Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.65) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."
Rolling Stone (12/15/94, p.98) - 3.5 Stars - Good - "...it all sounds seamless..."
Q (2/96, p.65) - Included in Q's 50 Best Albums of 1995.
Q (6/95, p.126) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...Like Mississippi John Hurt or Taj Mahal, Moore is rooted in songs rather than licks, although his guitar/banjo technique is sharp, hard and irresistibly sparkly....it's precisely because Moore pushes so hard that he's so compelling."
Living Blues (9-10/94, p.66) - "...a fresh take on some of the oldest blues styles..."
NME (Magazine) (7/15/95, p.49) - 6 (out of 10) - "...fine versions of two [Robert] Johnson songs plus some experiments with ragtime and pop music, circa 1920. But he's got a modern nous..., some funk plus a husky, keening voice that will endear him to the Jools Holland set..."
Personnel: Keb' Mo' (vocals, guitar, harmonica, banjo); Tommy Eyre (keyboards); James "Hutch" Hutchinson (bass); Laval Belle, Quentin Dennard, (drums); Tony Draunagel (percussion).
Recorded at Red Zone Studios, Burbank, California and Devonshire Recording Studios, North Hollywood, California.
Personnel: Keb' Mo' (vocals, guitar, banjo, harmonica); Tommy Eyre (keyboards); Laval Belle (drums).
Audio Mixer: Joe McGrath.
Recording information: Devonshire Recording Studios, N. Hollywood, CA; Penguin Recording, Los Angeles, CA; Red Zone Studios, Burbank, CA.
Photographer: Frank W. Ockenfels.
The first solo release by contemporary blues-based artist Keb Mo' mixes a reverence for traditional country blues with more streamlined elements of commercial pop. Despite a convincing "down-home" approach of gravel-textured vocals and superior slide work and finger-picking skills, Keb Mo' avoids the pose of a hard line revivalist. Instead, he chooses to employ his fluency in the Delta tradition as a palette on which to blend a connoisseur's sampling of various musical genres. Country, funk, swing, and late 20th-Century folk balladry (Traci Chapman, James Taylor and Bob Dylan) all manage to make their way into the mix for a seamless blend of roots and radio friendliness.
Keyboards, bass and drums (in addition to Keb Mo's contributions on guitar, harmonica and banjo) flesh out breezy soul-inflected pop such as "She Just Wants To Dance" and the island flavored "Tell Everybody I Know." Though gears continue to shift, from organ-drenched gospel to hillbilly lite, Keb Mo' brings things back to the source with inventive homages to the blues altar, such as in his re-casting of two Robert Johnson songs. Though blues purists may find Mo's genre blending somewhat disconcerting, others will find much to appreciate in this accessible, enjoyable, finely honed music.